THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Visiting the K’s

It had been quite a while since I last went to visit the K’s at their home. When their case was initially passed to me, I visited them quite often, almost on monthly basis, sending them groceries. With Mr K being unwell and Mrs K the only one working, they were always short of cash. They even took a RM2K loan from a chetty, and the chetty held Mrs K’s bank ATM card. At the end of each month, the chetty will take the interest amount and will only hand over the balance to Mrs K for her own use. The agreement between them was that the chetty will only return the ATM card when Mrs K settled the loan.

A blog reader of mine was kind enough to settle the loan amount for her. I went with Mrs K to the chetty’s house to hand over the cash myself (if I gave the money to Mrs K, she might be tempted to use the money for something else) and to make sure Mrs K got her ATM card back.

I thought things would be better for the family once the loan was settled, but no, they didn’t to know how to manage their finances. The moment Mr K managed to withdraw his EPF under permanent disability, the first thing they did was to install Astro at their home.

It didn’t take long before they finished up Mr K’s EPF money. Every time they were broke, Mrs K would try to ask me to lend her some money, promising me she’d pay me back when she gets her duit kutu or something like that. I never did lend her any money, but that didn’t stop her from trying and trying again whenever she was broke. It only stopped after I started to give her the silent treatment.

Anyway, I usually only send monthly groceries to poor families until a certain period. The idea was to help them out until they’re independent enough. But with the K’s, when you help them once, they expect you to help every time. I started distancing myself, only keeping in touch from time to time especially to see that the children’s educational needs are met. For the past 3 years, I only visit meet them during our year-end back-to-school shopping.

A few weeks ago, Mrs K sent me a message, asking if there’d be any financial assistance for this year’s Ramadhan, as there had been a few years ago. While other clients would be too embarrassed to ask for such things, Mrs K never failed to ask. She said since she works at a canteen and the canteen is closed in the month of Ramadhan, she’s not earning anything during the month.

I didn’t bother to reply her message this time. Silent treatment method in use again. That was until a few days ago, when I decided to send them some groceries, courtesy of donors. When I asked if she’d be home today, she said she was supposed to start work at a supermarket this very day. But later she texted me again, saying she starts work at 6pm, so she should be home in the morning.

And so off I went to visit her this morning. This time to their 5th rented home ever since I took over their case. I had already heard from the nurse at Ipoh ID clinic that Mr and Mrs K were no longer together, so I was not expecting to see Mr K at home. True enough, when I got to their house, there were only Mrs K and her 2 younger daughters at home, her 3rd child now in form one, and her youngest who underwent hole-in-heart surgery when she was younger, is now 8. Her eldest son, who never furthered his studies after form 5 despite me advising him to go for vocational courses, just started work at a factory 2 weeks ago. Previously he was just doing odd jobs here and there, no EPF or Socso.

I told Mrs K to tell the boy to at least stick with the job if he doesn’t want to go for any vocational courses. At least for this job at the factory, they have EPF and Socso contributions, and if he works hard enough and is loyal to the company, he stands a chance for promotion later. With his qualification, jumping from one job to another won’t do him any good. Mrs K told me that was what she advised her son… to work hard and not to depend too much on others. Hmmm… funny coming from someone who never failed to ask for financial assistance.

Her eldest daughter (her 2nd child) actually had a better outcome after her SPM. She managed to get a place at a college in KL and I even managed to get her some financial assistance for registration purposes. I thought she was still studying at the college, but today I was told the girl dropped out after just a few months. According to Mrs K, the girl fainted quite frequently and missed quite a lot of her classes and so she decided to just quit.

Recently the girl was hospitalised for 2 weeks. Tests showed she didn’t have enough red blood cells. She’s on medication and is doing better now but will still have to go for follow up appointments at the hospital. Meanwhile she managed to get herself a job as a clerk at a motorcycle shop nearby.

As for Mrs K herself, when I didn’t reply her message asking if there were any financial assistance for the month of Ramadhan, she started looking around for jobs and ended up getting the part time job at a supermarket, until after Raya when she will go back to her job at the canteen. See? My silent treatment actually works. She actually went out to look for a job, didn’t she?

I didn’t bother to ask about Mr K as I didn’t want her to start saying bad things about her ex-husband. And since she too didn’t get into that topic, it was even better for me.

Hopefully with her 2 older children already working, she will stop asking for money from others. I still wish the children had better education, but there’s not much I can do on my part if they themselves aren’t willing enough.

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